Pumping iron enhances performance on the gridiron
If you want to succeed on the football field, there is no offseason.There is no lazy summer, no sleeping in.There is only dedication. Prep gridders know this, and that’s why they spend their summer mornings weightlifting.
“Our kids realize that if they want to be more productive on the field, they have to spend a lot of time in the weight room,” said Roaring Fork head football coach Mike Brinson.Every area school has a summer weightlifting program. Glenwood’s has been slightly modified because the school has closing due to construction and asbestos. It hasn’t stopped them from lifting, however, thanks to Steve Reynolds and The Gym – Glenwood’s summer training haven.The Demons spend three days a week doing strength training in the workout facility, located in the basement of the Hotel Colorado. They arrive at 7 a.m., mostly focusing on the bench, squats and cleans, but also thinking about the upcoming season and how the work they put in now will pay off later.”The expectation is that if you are an athlete in high school, you need to train year-round,” said Glenwood head coach Rocky Whitworth. “In my experience the fitness level of athletic teams is one of the important areas where you can get an edge. Even at the high school level, being in top fitness condition is just vital for obtaining a competitive level.”
The players put a lot of time into training in the summer as they juggle work, attending different camps and lifting. Glenwood has 20 players who are consistently showing up to lift, and they are led by the upperclassmen.”We have a smaller senior class this year, but the leadership is good,” said Nate Forestal, who will be a senior linebacker for Glenwood. “We’re setting the tone for this year, and hopefully everything will start here in the weight room.”At Roaring Fork, Brinson has taken over the reigns of the Ram’s football team, but former coach Matt Hauptly is still the strength and conditioning coach for the summer training season. The Rams are “strongly encouraged” to attend open weight room sessions during the week from 6-10 a.m. or 3-7 p.m., according to Brinson. “What has been crucial for us is strength and conditioning. Especially for a team that plays on both sides of the ball, as opposed to some of our opponents, who only play on one,” Brinson said.
The Rams began lifting when school started and will continue all the way through the season. Hauptly even had a concrete slab placed on the field so the players can incorporate strength training into their practices. “For us, weightlifting is also just a way to keep them healthy,” Brinson said. “It prevents injuries, and with our numbers so low, we can’t afford any injuries.”
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Damon Wells, who was an assistant coach when Rifle won the state championship in 2004 and head coach when the Bears finished as state runner-up last year, has a different spin on weightlifting. Wells said 25-30 of his players consistently participate in the workouts this summer, and only 12 came during the summer preceding the state title.”Just because you spend a lot of time in the weight room, it doesn’t mean that you are going to be successful on the field,” Wells said. “But it certainly doesn’t hurt.”That said, his players still spend a fair share of time in the weight room, lifting from 6-8 a.m. Monday through Thursday throughout the summer. Wells planned on closing the gym over the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, but the players asked him to keep it open – so he did. With the first practices kicking off in four weeks, players and coaches will soon find out if the summer weightlifting will produce a stronger season.
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